What went wrong for the New York Giants in 2008? After their first 11 games, the team was 10-1. A Super Bowl repeat was there for the taking. Then, well we all know what happened next.
The Giants started the offseason with a few glaring needs. They read like a checklist for success.
Outside Linebacker that can make plays from sideline to sideline. Check.
Big-body run stuffer who can bring some pressure. Check.
Versatile defensive lineman that can play end or tackle for flexibility, back up safety for depth, and push the starters. Check and check.
And finally, a top flight wide receiver that can force double coverage and make cornerbacks queasy. No check.
The list was long two weeks ago. Today there is only one need left. Some will say four out of five isn't bad. It's even a slogan for sugarless gum, but it's playing with fire if you are General Manager Jerry Reese and the New York Giants.
The last need can be the difference between a good chance to be great and a great chance to be immortal.
I preface this by admitting up front that, with all the Giants have and all they have added, I believe they will be the favorite to represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLIV.
The question is why stop there? Why leave one gigantic stone unturned? The answer? They won't.
Anyone who reads my columns knows I believe Reese will do what it takes to give the Giants the best chance to win and I've written articles outlining how Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree, Darius Heyward-Bey, and even Plaxico Burress can be the answer.
But the undeniable truth is, it doesn't so much matter who the answer is as long as he runs like the wind, catches everything thrown his way and has no bullets in his thigh.
It can be any of the aforementioned players or choose from a list that includes Braylon Edwards, Kenny Britt, or Hakeem Nicks. I know the Ravens won a Super Bowl with a smothering defense and the Giants will be a great running team, but that being said, the Giants have a chance to be a dominating team.
The Giants need a No. 1 receiver. A deep threat, cornerback-beating, defensive coordinator's headache wide receiver. They need to find someone who not only stretches defenses but also allows the plethora of talent behind him to be slotted in their correct positions. This means Dominick Hixon as a No. 2 receiver, Steve Smith in the slot, and so on.
As long as football is played, people will talk about the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 70s, the 49ers of the 80s, the Cowboys of the 90s and the New EnglandPatriots at the turn of the century. The chance for the Giants to ascend to their rightful place alongside those great teams is there for the taking.
All it takes is a general manager who knows how to build a winner. Check.
Here's a message to Reese.
Beg, borrow, steal, or draft a receiver and then take some time to clear room in the trophy case. I think there are additions coming.